All writers, regardless of genre, need nimble imaginations. Every day you must fling yourself into make-believe worlds to create authentic works or find ways to make non-fiction information interesting and engaging. Your job is to draw others into a shared experience through your words. Readers identify wholly with characters or real people and events in a story. To help them do this, you must be able to fully reveal fictitious worlds and non-fiction people, places, and facts. Only activating your imagination on a regular basis will produce the choice details needed to succeed. Here are some exercises that will help you tap into your imagination.
Remember. One way to light up the imagination is to pull from memories. Take time to write down your memories. Follow your senses to help you. Play favorite music and see what comes to the surface. Look at old photographs, smell familiar scents, taste favorite foods and then write down the memories. Make a list of a hundred emotional memories. When have you laughed the hardest, or what made you the angriest, most contemplative, saddest, put you at your most confident, and so on? After you create your list take time and expand specific memories. Write all the details.
Conversation. Get together with some friends and reminisce. Bring a notebook and jot down notes. Listen to differences in perception. Try to be a fly on the wall in a good gossip session. Listen to the drama, the pathos, the lies, and the truth. Capture the essence of the memories as best you can. Also, try listening to others in unconventional places. Take a notepad to the mall and jot down snippets.
Creative Play. You are never too old to play. Lots of grown-ups are into playing. If you can’t convince your friends to come over for a dinner party in character, then consider joining a historical reenactment: Civil War and Renaissance ones abound. Perhaps participate in a murder mystery dinner. If these seem too whimsical for your taste, try a serious acting class. Getting inside of characters will help you create realistic characters for your works.
Daydreaming. As a writer you are in the one profession that actually applauds staring out a window and letting your mind wander to see what happens. Flights of fancy are encouraged. Put some time away each day and be free to think anything. Send the censors away. Keep a notepad handy in case you want to jot down a few thoughts. Dream away!
Free writing. Many lists of writing prompts are available for writers. Make free writing part of your daily routine. It works like this: read a prompt and set a timer; begin writing and don’t stop until the buzzer sounds. Your internal critic is not allowed during this creative time. Start at one minute and work your way up to a half hour. Free writing brings down mental barriers and allows the imagination to run free.
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